How do you graft fruit trees


The Simple Art of Grafting Fruit Trees: A Complete Guide

Why plant 40 different fruit trees when you can grow one single tree that produces 40 different varieties of fruit? In California, there is a fruit tree called the ‘Tree of 40 Fruits’, created by Sam Van Aken. On one branch you may find a plum, on another an apricot, and another, a peach, and keep going until you count 40 different varieties of stone fruits.

But how is that possible? Could this tree be from the Garden of Eden? No, this is the simple art of grafting fruit trees. In this article I’m going to discuss what grafting is and why it works. And I'll share 3 methods commonly used to graft fruit trees.

Ken Roth of Silver Creek Nursery in Ontario holding a grafted fruit tree. Grafted fruit trees are made up of two trees fused together. The "rootstock" provides the roots and the "scion" is the upper portion of the tree. Photo credit: OrchardPeople.com.

grafting fruit trees is not possible without the rootstock and scion

So, how is grafting fruit trees done? Well, just take two trees and fuse them into one. The lower part is called the rootstock and is used to form the roots of the fruit tree. This part of the tree controls how tall the tree will grow. The other section of the graft is the scion, which is used to form the fruiting portion of the tree. A scion is the upper portion of a graft which is responsible for characteristics such as fruit type, flavour and colour.

what is the purpose of grafting fruit trees?

Fruit trees are not usually grown from seed because if they are, the fruit doesn't usually taste very good!

That's because many fruit trees are cross pollinated. Fruit trees have some DNA from the mother tree and some from the father tree.

The resulting seed will have a completely new genetic make-up. And if you plant that seed, the new tree will produce fruit that is nothing like the fruit produced by either parent.

Grafted fruit trees is like an insurance policy that can offer the following benefits:

  • They will provide you with a guaranteed variety like Honeycrisp or Gala apples.
  • They may offer pest and disease resistance.
  • They may be selected to withstand cold climates.

In contrast, fruit trees grown from seed have the following disadvantages.

  • They may produce small, sour fruit.
  • They may grow to be massive trees.
  • They may not produce any fruit at all for up to 7 years.

Did you know that the Macintosh apple trees you see today are growing because someone decided to cut off a small branch and graft it onto another tree to produce the same fruit? The original Macintosh tree dates back to 1811, now that variety is one of the top 10 sold in the world; all because of the simple art of grafting fruit trees.

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how does grafting fruit trees work?

When you make a cut into a young fruit tree branch, you’ll notice something interesting. The bark is brown, but the inner tissue is green as you can see in the photo below.

That green layer is the living tissue of the tree which is called the cambium. For a plant to be grafted it must have a cambium. A cambium is an important part of a tree that can be compared to the dividing cells in our body, allowing us continual growth and renewal. We can't graft plants such as grasses because they lack a cambium. But plants with cambiums, like fruit trees, can be grafted quite easily. (Melnyk & Meyerowitz, 2015).

For a plant to be grafted it must have a cambium. You can see the green cambium layer in the scion on the top. Photo credit: OrchardPeople.com.

In order to graft a fruit tree, you'll need to make a fresh cut on your scion (which will be the upper part of the tree) and another cut on the rootstock (the bottom part).

You'll then bind the two together. But on the tree's part, it senses that it has been wounded. So the tree sends signals to repair the damage and close the wound. That will secure the two trees together and that graft union will stay intact for the lifetime of the tree.

Many plant hormones are involved in forming the graft union and sealing the exposed tissue (Nanda & Melnyk, 2018).

Whip and Tongue Grafting Fruit Trees for Beginners 🔪 🍎 🌳


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Steph Roth of Silver Creek Nursery talk about Whip and Tongue Grafting Fruit Trees for Beginners in this short video.

fruit tree grafting in 7 steps

So, in theory, you know at this point how grafting works. Let's go through the steps you need to take to graft a fruit tree.

Step 1. Collect scionwood in the winter. The cuttings are collected in the dormant season because this is when the plant stops growing and therefore requires far less energy.

Step 2. Ensure the scionwood is disease and pest-free by visually inspecting it for any irregularities. The cutting should be approximately 16” in length and about the diameter of a pencil.

Step 3. Label the scion with the name of the tree and the date of the cutting.

Step 4. Store scionwood safely. The cutting should be wrapped in a damp paper towel and then tucked into a plastic bag. Then place the package in the refrigerator until spring to maintain dormancy. Remove any fruit that is ripening in the refrigerator. Certain fruits produce ethylene as they ripen which can kill the scionwood.

Step 5. Preorder rootstock. Preorder early as rootstock sells out quickly. You may need to order up to 9 months in advance.

Step 6. In the spring, grafting fruit trees can begin. Look outside. If fruit trees in the neighbourhood have buds that are starting to open, you know that the tree's sap is beginning to flow. This is the perfect time for spring fruit tree grafting.

Step 7. Use one of the grafting methods below. Check out some common methods for grafting fruit trees further down in this article.

Once you have chosen a grafting method, you are all set, right? Hold tight, there’s one last important step when grafting fruit trees to consider and that’s making sure your scion and rootstock will get along!

By looking at the taxonomic triangle above, you can see that fruit trees can often be grafted together if they are in the same genus. But as you make your way up the taxonomic hierarchy the scion and rootstock become more incompatible because there is less similarity between the two. Graphic credit: OrchardPeople.com.

which fruit trees can be grafted together?

Ok, so now that you know how to graft fruit trees, what’s to stop you from getting any old rootstock and sticking a branch from an apple tree on top? Well, that might not work for you. That’s because the rootstock and scion wood need to be compatible.

Rootstocks and scions that belong to the same botanical species are always compatible, so anything that is an apple, can be grafted to another apple.

Rootstocks and scions from different species in the same genus are also usually compatible. An example of this is within the genus Prunus or the stone fruit genus, which includes apricots, peaches, plums, nectarines, cherries and almonds. The Tree of 40 Fruits, which we talked about earlier, is an example of this compatibility and you can listen how that is done in the video below.

Sam Van Aken's Tree of 40 Fruit


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Learn how Sam Van Aken creates his "Tree of 40 Fruit" in this short video.

However, as you make your way up the taxonomic hierarchy (from Species to Kingdom), the scion and rootstock become more incompatible because there is less similarity between the two.

So, let’s say you want to graft a pear scion onto a quince rootstock. You discover that they are in the same family. Bingo! You think you have found a winning combination!

And sometimes that's true. Certain varieties of pear are compatible with quince root stocks including Anjou, Cornice, Old Home and Flemish Beauty. But other varieties, like Bartlett, Bosc and Seckel are not. You can learn more about which will work, and which will not, in this article.

The problem is that pears and quinces don’t share the same genus. So sometimes, when pear and quince are grafted, a toxin from the quince rootstock enters the pear scion and poisons the graft union, causing it to fail (Pereira et al. , 2017). This is just one example of graft incompatibility and why it's important to graft rootstock and scionwood that are closely related.

Some orchardists grow their own rootstock which they will use for their grafted fruit trees. This is Eric Hambly of Siloam Orchards in Ontario. Photo credit: OrchardPeople.com.

where to buy rootstock for grafting fruit trees

So, getting the scionwood seems straight forward, right? You have a productive tree in your backyard, and you love the apples, but this tree isn’t going to last forever, so you want to start a new tree just like the one you have. So, you take a cutting and you have the scion, but you’re missing a piece, the rootstock.

You can grow your own rootstock from seed, but here are some of the problems you may encounter:

  • The tree will probably be massive.
  • The rootstock might not be suited to your climate.
  • The rootstock may be sensitive to the pests and disease in your area and may be infected easier.

Your best bet is to find a producer that specializes in growing clonal rootstock. Clonal rootstock is used so that the tree you plant will be adapted to the area you live in and won’t grow to be 40 ft tall.

Your best bet is to find a producer that specializes in growing clonal rootstock.

For apples and pears, producers will grow clonal rootstocks in a stool bed. The rootstock is cut down and sawdust is mounded up around it. This prompts mini-rootstocks to pop up all around the single rootstock you had before. The mini-rootstocks are then separated from the stool bed and grown on their own until they are shipped away to nurseries to be grafted to scions.

Maybe you’ve heard that most peach and nectarine tree rootstocks ARE grown from seed. These are called seedling rootstocks. This is because:

  1.  There has not been much success with breeding smaller versions (dwarfing rootstocks) of these trees.
  2. Peaches, apricots, nectarines, and sour cherries are self-pollinating, so the seed produced from these trees are very similar to the parent tree.

Finding rootstock for sale can be tricky business, especially if you are not looking to buy enough for an orchard.  Most nurseries do not advertise rootstock sales because they sell the trees after they have been grafted. There are a few places like Fedco in the US and Maple Grove Nursery in Canada that sell small amounts of rootstocks for those who want to graft their own apple trees.

If you like jigsaw puzzles, you may want to try whip and tongue grafting. But in this article that's just one of the three techniques that we will discuss. Photo credit: Dreamstime.

grafting fruit trees: techniques

So, now you understand the basic "dos and don’ts" of grafting fruit trees and you are on your way to becoming an orchardist. Now I will introduce you to some of the more common methods used to fuse the fruiting wood to the rootstock.

If you are looking to make an old tree productive again, you may be interested in bark grafting. Choosing between some methods such as the whip and tongue method versus bud grafting, may come down to timing and preference, but both are equally effective for grafting fruit trees.

bark grafting: a way to give old fruit trees a new lease on life

Bark grafting is one method that is used to improve the quality of an old fruit tree or to change the variety on a productive rootstock.  For this technique, you peel the bark back to expose the cambium and then insert the scion. In this video below: Patrick Mann, a volunteer from City Fruit in Seattle (Washington, U.S.) demonstrates how simple bark grafting can be; accomplished with only a few supplies.

Bark Grafting Apple Trees on a Shoestring Budget


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fits like a puzzle: using the whip and tongue technique

If you like jigsaw puzzles, the whip and tongue technique might be the one to choose. A long slanting cut which provides the maximum surface area between the scion and rootstock, is characteristic of a whip and tongue graft. You’ll need some practice, a sharp knife, elastic bands and some wax. In the video below, Ken Roth, a well seasoned grafting expert from Silver Creek Nursery in Ontario, demonstrates how to perform this quick manoeuvre.

Whip and Tongue grafting and how to graft an apple tree


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bud grafting: for summer grafters

Did you miss the early season for grafting? It’s not too late! You can graft fruit trees in the late summer but it’s a different technique. The first step is to take a single bud from the desired scion. Next, with your rootstock, ensuring the two are compatible, insert the bud with a T-cut or a chip cut. In the next video, Ken Roth from Silver Creek Nursery, shows you how.

Chip budding - How to graft an apple tree in less than a minute!


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how to keep your newly grafted fruit trees healthy?

Once you've gone to all this trouble of grafting a fruit tree you need to know how to care for it! Here are some tips.

  • Keep your tools clean to prevent infection. Your grafting tools can transmit disease as you graft tree after tree. Wipe the blades of your grafting tools with isopropyl alcohol after use to sterilize them.
  • Keep the grafting knife sharp. This will make the cut smoother and allow the tree to heal quicker.
  • Don’t forget to seal off any exposed green tissue to prevent the cutting from drying out. You can seal off the cuts you made with grafting wax and a rubber band.

Now, you know how to graft your first fruit tree. You have made a tremendous step towards becoming an orchardist. You are on the right track, but don’t stop here. Your fruit tree will need continual care and nurturing. Follow some of the additional resources below to keep your grafted fruit trees in tip top shape.

caring for fruit trees - including pruning, fertility management and pest and disease prevention

Grafting a fruit tree is just the beginning of your journey. Taking care of it to ensure it is healthy and productive is your next step. But how do you do this? Here are some extra resources for you:

  • Essential fruit tree care online courses offered through the Orchard People website where you will learn fruit tree pruning, fertility management, pest and disease prevention and more.
  • The Orchard People shop, which contains some must reads, and the complete toolbox for an orchardist.
  • The North American Fruit Explorers (NAFEX) is a network of people passionate about growing fruit.
  • David Maxwell, a long-time member of NAFEX and a grafting hobbyist from Nova Scotia talks about cultivars and grafting in this video.
  • Silver Creek Nursery has a Holistic Spray Recipe to help prevent fruit tree pests and diseases.
  • This UK fruit tree nursery website describes some of the common rootstocks used for grafting fruit trees.
Shannon McDowell, University of Guelph student and Intern at OrchardPeople.com.

Shannon McDowell is an intern at OrchardPeople.com. She is a bachelor's student in agricultural science at the University of Guelph, Ontario. She is passionate about gardening and pomology.

Growing Fruit: Grafting Fruit Trees in the Home Orchard [fact sheet]

Grafting as a means of propagating fruit trees dates back several thousand years or more. Grafting is used for two principal reasons: most fruit trees don’t come true to seed (seeds from a McIntosh apple won’t grow into McIntosh trees) and cuttings don’t root easily. The technique of grafting is used to join a piece of vegetative wood (the scion) from a tree we wish to propagate to a rootstock.

Grafting is a fun way to get more enjoyment from your home orchard. You can use grafting to create trees with several varieties or to introduce new varieties into your home orchard. Grafting can also be used to change varieties of trees in your existing orchard (see Cleft Grafting, below).

Remember that you are almost always limited to grafting within a species... most apple varieties are compatible with each other as are most pears. You cannot graft an apple scion on a pear rootstock or vice versa.

Choice of rootstock

Today we have a wide range of rootstock choices that will produce trees of varying sizes, from full-size “standard” trees to true dwarfs (less than 10 feet tall at maturity). Different rootstocks vary not only in final tree size, but also in their winter hardiness, resistance to certain insects and diseases, and performance in various soil drainage types. Most dwarf rootstocks are also precocious, meaning that they bear fruit early in the tree’s life.

Rootstocks are propagated either by seed (for seedling rootstocks), or by the process of rooting cuttings, known as layering. Dwarfing rootstocks are usually rooted cuttings (Fig. 1). Several nurseries offer rootstocks in small quantities to home growers interested in grafting, and many nurseries offer fruit trees on a wide selection of rootstocks. Descriptions of some of the common apple rootstocks follow.

Figure 1: Rooted rootstock layer.

Seedling: Seedling rootstocks produce large trees that are very difficult to prune, harvest and manage for pests. Seedling rootstocks are not recommended for use in home gardens. Few home gardens have space for these large trees and the wait until first fruit will discourage most growers. In addition, pest control with these large trees is very difficult, usually requiring power equipment for spray application. However, these trees may have value when used for wildlife plantings. They cost less than trees with dwarfing rootstock and will grow rapidly, soon outgrowing the browse reach of deer if provided protection for just a few years

M.7 (Malling 7): M.7 was the dominant dwarfing rootstock in NH orchards for many years. It produces a semi-dwarf tree that reaches 15 feet in height and needs 15 feet of lateral space. Fruiting usually begins by the fifth year from planting. M.7 has some weaknesses, for example, it produces numerous root suckers that must be cut each year. On the positive side, M.7 is tolerant of collar rot, a major soil-borne disease of apple. Further, most varieties grafted on M.7 are very fruitful. Apple trees on M.7 should be staked to provide trunk support for the first four or five years.

M.26 (Malling 26): M. 26 is an excellent apple rootstock for home gardens. It is precocious, often bearing some fruit as early as the year after planting. It is quite hardy and should do well in reasonably well-drained soils throughout NH. It produces very few root suckers. It needs support (preferably a stake that will last the life of the tree), and it produces fleshy root initials (called burr knots) on the above-ground portion of the rootstock. These burr knots are attractive to borers. M.26 is also susceptible to the bacterial disease fire blight. Plant the tree with the graft union only an inch or so above ground so less rootstock is exposed. Most varieties on M.26 can be planted at an 8-foot spacing.

Bud 9 (Budagovsky 9): This is the number one choice for NH home gardens if a fully dwarf tree is desired. This rootstock is productive, very precocious and when mature, trees on this rootstock stand only seven to eight feet tall. It should be staked to provide support for heavy crop loads. It is very hardy and should do well throughout NH. Apple trees on Bud 9 rootstock can be set at 7-foot spacing in the home orchard.

Selecting and Storing Scion Wood

Several nurseries sell scion wood. Other sources of unique varieties are commercial orchardists in NH and other home fruit growers. Scion wood is collected while trees are still dormant (usually in late February or March in NH). Scion wood should be straight and smooth and about pencil thickness (Fig. 2). Water sprouts that grow upright in the center tops of trees are ideal.

Figure 2: Scion wood.

Once cut, trim to 12-18” lengths, and place in a food-grade plastic bag. Place a damp paper towel or sphagnum moss in the bag to maintain moisture, seal, and place in the refrigerator until you are ready to graft, usually in mid- to late April.

Many newer varieties of apples and pears are patented. Propagation of patented varieties requires the permission of the patent holder along with a royalty fee for each new tree created.

Whip and Tongue or Bench Grafting

A technique commonly used for spring grafting is whip and tongue grafting, also known as bench grafting. Whip and tongue grafting can be used to add multiple varieties to an apple or pear tree already growing in the home orchard. Because this technique involves joining wood of equal or nearly equal diameter, generally about pencil thickness, whip and tongue grafting is done near the ends of branches.

To complete this graft, you will need a sharp knife and either grafting tape, masking tape, or a plastic strip to seal the graft. The first cut is a smooth cut approximately 1¼ to 1½ inch long, made with a single knife stroke (Fig. 3). This cut is made on the rootstock several inches above the top root. A matching cut is made on the bottom of a 5-6 inch long piece of scion wood.

Figure 3: The face cut should be made with a single stroke of the knife and come to a sharp point.Figure 4: The tongue cut. A sharp knife is essential.

The second cut is a bit more difficult to make. Start by holding the wood as shown in Fig. 4. Starting at a point about ⅓ inch down from the tip of the cut surface, cut down into the center of the rootstock. This cut should be nearly parallel to the grain of the wood (Fig. 4). The bottom of the scion should be prepared in exactly the same fashion as the top of the rootstock.

Join the two prepared pieces, scion and rootstock (Fig. 5). Push the two together firmly to insure a snug fit and good contact. Finally, wrap the new graft union to protect tissue from drying. Masking tape is one option. Another is specially developed grafting tape. (Fig. 6). I prefer to use 1 inch wide strips of plastic cut from bread bags. Start below the newly formed union, stretching the plastic slightly as you wrap around and up over the union. This will help insure a moisture proof seal. Once the union is completely covered, tie the plastic strip off with a simple knot. A healed whip and tongue graft is shown in Fig. 7.

Figure 5: Scion and rootstock are joined to complete the graft. Figure 6: The completed whip and tongue graft, sealed with grafting tapeFigure 7: A healed whip and tongue graft.

Newly grafted trees are set out in a nursery row to grow. The home vegetable garden is an ideal place to grow these trees out for a year or two until they are large enough to plant out in their permanent location. When planting grafted trees, be sure to set the graft union 2” (Fig. 8) or so above ground to ensure that the scion does not root.

Figure 8: Set trees so the graft union is a couple of inches above ground. If the scion (variety) roots, a large tree will result.

Cleft Grafting

Cleft grafting is a technique that produces a union between a large rootstock trunk or limb and a much smaller scion. Using this method, an older tree can be top-worked to change to a more desirable variety.

For this method, scion wood is collected and stored as described for whip and tongue grafting. Again, this grafting is done in April in NH.

The first step in cleft grafting is to prepare the older tree for top-working. The tree is cut off at a convenient height, usually 30 inches or so above ground (Fig. 9). Alternatively, individual branches within an older tree can be top-worked using this same technique.

Figure 9: Older apple tree, cut off about 30 inches above ground in preparation of cleft grafting.

Using a hammer and either a cleft grafting tool designed for this use or alternatively, a hatchet or chisel, a split or cleft is made in the wood (Fig. 10). This cleft is then held open using the end of the cleft grafting tool designed for that purpose, or a screw driver or similar tool (Fig. 11).

Figure 10: A cleft or split made using a hammer and cleft grafting tool.Figure 11: The cleft is held open using the end of the cleft grafting tool designed for that purpose.

Once the stock is prepared, scions are cut and inserted to complete the graft. Two scions are prepared using pieces of pencil-thick, year old wood, approximately five to six inches long. The bottom of each scion is prepared by making a single, smooth, sloped cut on each side (Fig. 12).

Figure 12: Bottom of scions used for cleft grafting. The thicker side should be set to the outside of the stock.

These scions are set into the cleft, one on each side, positioned so that the cambial zones of the stock and scion ‘line up’ or touch (Figs. 13, 14 and 15). It is important to note that the bark of the stock is much thicker than that of the scion. The key is to line up the cambial zones, not the outside edge of the bark of each.

Figure 13: The knife point marks the cambial zone of the stock. It separates the bark from the hard wood inside.Figure 14: Scion properly inserted into cleft in stock, assuring cambial zone contact.Figure 15: A completed cleft graft - sealing with grafting compound is the next step.

If the stock is larger than four or five inches in diameter, I like to insert additional scions using a technique called inlay or bark grafting. Scions are prepared as shown in Fig. 16. Again, a four to five inch scion is used. A one-inch long cut is made up the middle of the scion from the bottom, and one side is removed. The other side is often tapered at the tip to make joining the scion to the stock easier.

Figure 16: A scion prepared for use in inlay or bark grafting.

Place the flat, cut surface of the scion flat against the stock and trace the sides into the bark of the scion with a knife. Then cut the bark in all the way to the hardwood using the tracings as a guide. Carefully peel back the bark and slide the scion in until it seats (Fig. 17). Using the bark flap as a cushion, nail the scion in place using a wide headed, wire nail (Fig. 18).

Figure 17: Scion seated in slot cut in bark of scion.Figure 18: Scion nailed in place.

Insert scions up to every four inches in stock circumference. After a scion has been placed in each side of the cleft and inlay grafts have been added, all cut surfaces must be covered to prevent drying of sensitive cambial tissue. Use a commercially available grafting compound for this purpose. Check newly made grafts for several days to insure that no holes in the grafting compound have opened (Fig. 19).

Figure 19: Grafting compound must cover all cut surfaces of the stock and scion. Be sure to cover the cleft or split in its entirety, including on the side of the trunk.

What Comes Next?

If the grafts were made correctly, most will grow, some quite vigorously. These grafts will be brittle for a few years, so proper training is important.

The spring following grafting, select two successful grafts and join them together by wrapping the weaker one into the stronger one and tying it off with black plastic electrical tape. Over time, these wrapped shoots will graft together and create a very strong, natural bridge (Fig. 20).

Figure 20: Wrapping the two successfully greafted scions together creates a very strong structure.

Finally

Proper tools and supplies make the grafting job easier. There are several good grafting compounds on the market. Those that do not need heating are easier to use. While a hatchet can be used to make cleft grafts, a cleft grafting tool is relatively inexpensive and makes the job easier. Lastly, A sharp knife is your most important grafting tool and it makes sense to purchase a high quality one.

 

Fact sheet written by William G. Lord, UNH Extension Fruit Specialist, Emeritus and Amy Ouellette, Agricultural Resources Educator Updated and revised March 2017 by Becky Sideman, UNH Cooperative Extension Professor & Specialist



 

Autumn grafting of fruit trees and bushes

Grafting fruit trees and bushes in your garden will allow you to get a rich harvest of various fruits and berries, improve their taste, quality, and expand the variety of cultivated crops. In addition, with the help of grafting, you can give a second life to aged trees, eliminate crown defects, especially in ornamental crops, and propagate your favorite varieties of apple trees, pears or plums. In summer gardening chores, there is not always a free "window" for vaccination. But if you follow our recommendations, you can get vaccinated in the autumn.

In autumn, it is easier for summer residents to allocate free time for this, because worries become less and less as the harvest of various fruit and vegetable crops grows. Another benefit of carrying out autumn vaccinations is the saving by gardeners of precious spring time, when every summer resident has a lot of work to do. Only bad weather with sudden frosts at night, erroneously selected scion with stock and deplorable past experience of such work, which instills in you the fear of repeating failure, can prevent you from performing autumn vaccinations. Let's discuss in detail how and when it is better to graft trees in the autumn, discuss the nuances of this important procedure so that your chances of success are maximized.

Timing of autumn vaccination

We recognize that autumn is not the optimal season for grafting trees in the capital region, and throughout central Russia. As a rule, summer residents at the end of the summer season prepare grafting material for the spring, and they strive to carry out all vaccinations planned for the season before the end of summer - then the plants have time to grow together before winter. In autumn, unstable weather interferes with this process, during which the temperature still rises quite high during the day and the vaccine begins to take root, and at night the thermometer drops to zero and the survival process slows down sharply.

But, if you decide on autumn vaccinations, you need to carry them out only before the onset of frost, that is, you have September in stock, sometimes the weather allows you to capture the beginning of October. The result of the vaccination will be finally clear, most likely in the spring, so you just need to do everything correctly in order to make sure in April that everything worked out and worked. As for the time of day, it is better to plant trees and bushes either in the morning or in the evening. Well, if the weather is warm, without wind and rain.

How to choose a rootstock with scion

A rootstock is a plant chosen as the basis for planting a mini-cutting, a scion is a part of a plant of the variety that we want to grow on a strong stock. Obtaining the expected result of vaccination depends to a large extent on the quality of the rootstock and scion, therefore it can only be carried out between healthy fruit and berry crops resistant to parasites and ailments.

Small cuttings usually act as a scion, sometimes the buds of trees are also transplanted. You can increase the chances of the scion taking root if you choose a place for planting it in a low-wind part of the crown, well-lit by the sun throughout the day. At the same time, the stock should grow on nutrient-rich, fertile soil, so it is better to carry out all the necessary top dressing ahead of time.

Nobody limits you in choosing plants for grafting, but be realistic and choose related species of trees and bushes for planting. For example, pear, cotoneaster, chokeberry are successfully grafted onto an apple rootstock, and plum and peach are successfully grafted onto cherries. Grafting a peach or apricot will help rejuvenate an old cherry plum. Rose hips will be an excellent stock for climbing roses.

What equipment is needed

Before proceeding with vaccinations, you need to prepare all the required tools. The most important tool is a very sharp knife, which allows you to achieve absolute smoothness of the cuts. The higher the smoothness of the adjacent sections of the scion and rootstock, the more likely it is that they will grow together quickly. And if the cut surfaces turn out to be rough, the result of such a vaccination is unlikely to please you, the chances that such a graft will take root are negligible.

The preparation of the rootstock and scion is facilitated by special tools for the gardener - secateurs and knives, designed specifically for grafting. Such a pruner allows you to make completely identical cuts both on the stock and on the scion. The cuts made by him do not need to be adjusted. This saves a lot of time, especially when grafting a large number of cuttings.

Even a novice gardener can easily handle such a tool. The pruner effortlessly cuts branches with a thickness not exceeding 13 mm, even cuts contribute to the rapid process of merging the stock and scion. An important condition is that for vaccination with its use, shoots of the same size must be selected. And with thick branches, this tool will not cope.

A grafting knife, on the other hand, easily cuts branches reaching 25 mm in diameter, but it will be difficult to wield such a tool without certain skills, dexterity and simply physical strength. But those who master the work of a grafting knife will easily achieve the required smoothness of the cuts. Such a knife is optimal for use on a compact garden scale and infrequent grafting. Too intensive use of such a knife will lead to a drop in its sharpness, the tool will need constant sharpening.

Garden knife Dobrynya stainless steel steel

Before the start of grafting work, the tools must be thoroughly washed and then disinfected with alcohol to ensure the sterility of the connection between the rootstock and scion.

In addition to the knife and secateurs, the following will come in handy:

  • PET film, insulating tape or other strapping material;

  • garden pitch or wax to cover the grafting zone;

  • labels with information about the grafted cutting;

  • garden saw, etc.

Common vaccination techniques

Grafting trees and bushes is an exciting activity that allows for interesting experiments. Amateur gardeners often invent very unusual methods that speed up the splicing of grafted crops. We bring to your attention the most popular and time-tested.

Copulation - grafting the cutting

The copulation technique is used, as a rule, to propagate the variety of fruit trees you like. The stock and scion in such a case are selected identical in thickness. Oblique cuts are made on them, which are then connected closely and securely fastened with a tissue flap and twine. The most important thing in this technique is to achieve an absolute fit of the scion and rootstock in the cambium - the zone of cell division.

Bark grafting

This grafting technique is optimal for rejuvenating aging trees. The rootstock for its implementation is selected soft-barred. Incisions are made in it, the length of which is 2-3 cm, an obliquely cut stalk is filled into them, after which the grafting zone is wrapped with polyethylene or a piece of cloth.

Split Grafting Technique

In this way, old trees are grafted that have a thick, coarsened bark that does not allow a graft to be placed behind it. The branch selected for the stock is cut down, splits are made in it. The cuttings are carefully inserted into the prepared slots so that the end of the grafted cutting protrudes 1-2 mm above the bark of the rootstock; the grafting performed in this technique will grow together and heal without problems.

In addition to the listed technologies, grafting in the "side cut" and "bridge" techniques are widely used. Budding is also quite popular - transplanting one eye, and not a cutting. The latter method is still better to use in the summer.

Apple grafting

Of course, the best time for her is the spring and summer season. But the autumn version also has its advantages. For example, grafts that have taken root in the fall easily tolerate a transplant in the spring and adapt more quickly after it is carried out. In addition, autumn vaccination allows you not to wait for spring if you managed to get hold of a rare variety that you have long wanted to replenish your garden.

The choice of grafting technique depends on factors such as tree age and weather conditions. It is better to manage the grafting of apple trees until the thermometer stops rising above 15 ° C. In the first two weeks of September, it is permissible to bud or graft on the bark. In September and early October, you can graft an apple tree in a split way. By the end of October, grafting apple trees is not recommended, because at this time the trees shed their leaves, begin to prepare for the winter cold, and sap flow slows down in the trunk and branches. The exception is the southern regions, where during this period there is still a chance for a successful autumn vaccination.

The scion material is half or completely lignified one-year-old shoots. They are cut off right before the procedure, it is better to do this from the south side of the crown. If the vaccination is carried out after a few days, the cut scion is sent for storage in the refrigerator. Before placing it there, the cuttings must be wrapped in a damp cloth, and then wrapped in polyethylene. Be sure to stick the cut ends into wet sand. The scion should not be allowed to dry out, so constantly monitor its condition.

The apple tree is very often chosen by gardeners for vaccinations. With the right choice of rootstock, there are usually no difficulties with the survival of the scion. The optimal stock for a varietal apple tree is an unpretentious and hardy "wild" grown from a seed, or an apple tree of another variety. In autumn, grafts planted on young rootstocks are distinguished by good survival. It is undesirable to carry out vaccinations on old apple trees in the fall. The rootstock for an apple tree can serve as:

  • chokeberry;

  • Rowan;

  • viburnum;

  • hawthorn;

  • quince.

An apple tree planted on a pear grows with difficulty. A varietal apple tree on a rowan rootstock can grind over the years. Vaccinations on quince are not always successful for gardeners, but planting an apple tree on a hawthorn is only possible for the most experienced or the most successful of them. When choosing a copulation technique, the cut on the rootstock should be done directly opposite the bud, since it is here that the nutrition of the branch is optimal, which means that the grafted cutting of the apple tree will take root in the shortest possible time.

Autumn pear grafting

Experienced gardeners with the help of grafting manage to grow unique trees from which you can pick a pear, an apple, and other horticultural crops at the same time. You, too, will be lucky if you are inquisitive, persistent and patient.

For the heat-loving pear, a successful fall grafting is the exception rather than the rule. This tree takes root in the fall infrequently, the chances of success are increased by its early holding - it is advisable to keep within until mid-September. And even if everything is done according to the rules, the result can be very modest.

A pear is grafted by budding, as well as by techniques for bark and splitting. In this case, the stock is chosen as one-year-old, but lignified shoots, on which there are strong buds. After completing the procedure, the vaccination area is covered with a cloth in order to avoid awakening the kidneys and freezing them in the winter cold.

The pear belongs to pome crops; it grows well with trees of related species. A wild pear or another variety of this crop can become a stock for her. Such a vaccination will allow growing pears of different varieties on one trunk. Such pear varieties as Vnuchka, Svetlyanka, Tema, etc. can act as a rootstock. Venerable gardeners successfully plant a pear on an apple tree. Often, incomplete wood splicing occurs, but the problem can be easily minimized by preparing a prop for the pear branch in advance to prevent it from breaking off.

Grafting a pear onto a quince reduces the height of the tree, making it easier to harvest. A pear on a quince rootstock bears fruit earlier, the taste of the fruit improves. The grafting of a pear on a red mountain ash is usually also effective. The fruits of this tree grow very sweet. Gradually, the scion thickens significantly, the mountain ash-rootstock loses its supporting properties, and the pears become less juicy. In addition to the above rootstock options, the pear is also grafted onto the shadberry, chokeberry, cherry plum, hawthorn, and cotoneaster.

To make the autumn vaccination successful, follow a number of simple rules during its implementation:

  • use a clean and very sharp tool in your work;

  • water the rootstock well before grafting, this will soften its bark;

  • do not touch the cuts with your hands to avoid infection, use garden pitch to cover wounds;

  • perform the procedure in dry, warm and quiet weather;

  • before the onset of persistent cold weather, after the appearance of the first frost, it is necessary to insulate the grafting site with a flap of fabric, film or other covering material.

Follow our advice and recommendations, and the chances of a successful autumn vaccination will increase significantly.


best ways of grafting fruit trees

If a fruit tree does not suit an amateur gardener in some way, it is not necessary to plant a new one, you can regraft with one or more more valuable varieties.

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Pictured:

Apple tree with grafted varieties - "Beforest" and "Kitayka Kerr".

We are preparing a scion. Cuttings of the variety desired for grafting are taken from young trees. Plants of pome crops should be no older than 7-8 years, stone fruits - 5-6 years. The graft (cuttings) is harvested at the beginning of winter, after a slight frost. This is done so that annual growths have time to mature and undergo hardening. Annual shoots are cut into segments 40-80 cm long and stored until spring in the snow. If the winter was mild, without severe frosts, then cuttings can be prepared in the spring. If the winter was frosty, it is risky to use such cuttings - the bark and growth buds could freeze slightly.

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Pictured:

Storing cuttings in the snow.

Select the time. Grafting of fruit trees is usually carried out in April-May, when active sap flow occurs in the rootstock, that is, in the plant on which the cuttings will be grafted. For a good fusion of cuttings with a stock, it is important that the scion is at rest, and the stock is in an active state. Therefore, until the last moment, the cuttings are kept in a snow pile or in the refrigerator, wrapped in a damp cloth and in a plastic bag. First, stone fruits (cherries, sweet cherries, plums) are re-grafted, and then pome fruits. This is due to the fact that in stone fruits, sap flow begins earlier.

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Pictured:

Regrafting plum.

Grafting methods. First, skeletal branches are cut from the fruit tree, leaving their parts about 40 cm long from the trunk, and grafted with cuttings of the desired varieties. The best ways to graft fruit trees: by the bark (2-4 cuttings on each pruned branch), into a side cut, into a split. Immediately after vaccination, the vaccination site is tightly tied with plastic tape. Then, the entire cutting, including the buds on it, is well lubricated with garden pitch to reduce evaporation and prevent the shoot from drying out. Fusion usually occurs after 3-4 weeks, after which the bandages are removed. With a successful outcome, the buds on the grafted cuttings germinate, forming shoots of various lengths.

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Pictured:

Top to bottom. Regrafting should be started from the top and higher branches and gradually move to the lower ones. If the tree is large, this work should be extended over 2-3 years to smooth out discrepancies between the above-ground and root systems with heavy pruning.


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